By Mark Mann
Dance virtuoso Vincent Mantsoe wows Toronto audiences at the Harbourfront Centre
The word “virtuoso” is one that has understandably lost its impact. Like all superlatives, it’s easy to toss around, and if it ever made readers perk up, it doesn’t anymore.
But when Danceworks curator Mimi Beck writes that Vincent Mantsoe — performing his two-part show NTU and Skwatta at Harbourfront Centre Theatre until January 31 — is a dancer of “breathtaking virtuosity,” she’s just stating the facts. He’s incredible.
By Ashima Suri
Canadian Stage wows Toronto audiences with the “emotionally gripping” The Other Place
When I first read the description of The Other Place, I was expecting to walk into an emotional thriller that would have me at the edge of my seat. Instead, I was taken into another journey that wasn’t quite dark and mysterious but informative and at times emotionally gripping. The talented cast and the creative set design by Judith Bowden were the highlights of this Canadian Stage production.
By Dana Ewachow
Shawn Hitchins’ one man show was “funny yet moving” at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
I sat down in my seat for Ginger Nation by Shawn Hitchins and looked around the room. I was not used to seeing Buddies in Bad Times Theatre looking so calm. On Saturday nights the theatre opens its doors as a bar and dance club. I was so accustomed to the speakers blasting 90’s hits and glorious drag queens strutting down the main staircase. This version of “Buddies” was toned down, but it had just as much spirit as the Saturday night crowd. I left the theatre just as elated as I do when I dance the night away.
The show opened with who I thought was an overly-enthusiastic Emcee. Soon I found out that it was Diana Love, the opening comedian. Love can only be described as a delightful weirdo. She introduced herself to the room as “your best friend for the next twenty minutes.” She did feel like a close friend who really lets loose over pitchers of sangria. She flipped from silly jokes about her hometown in P.E.I to lewd jokes about her sex life. Every punch line was followed by a laugh like she was shocked that she confessed that to a room full of people. By the end of her set, I was trying to wipe the tears from under my glasses.
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Live Shows For $25 or Less
Some people don’t like going to theatre because it’s more expensive than the movies. Or so they think. Pshaw, I say to that. Tickets to all of these shows are available for $25 or less. So would you rather go see some big, very loud IMAX movie (that your would probably enjoy more at home, where you can talk over it) or some real, live theatre? I mean, look at how many cool shows there are this week!
Shows That Caught Our Eye This Week
Finish your January in style – go see some theatre! Here’s a list of all the shows that caught our eye that are playing in Toronto this week. Anything highlighted in red with two asterisks before it particularly caught the eye of our Founding Editor, Megan.
By Samantha Wu
Blood Relations takes a chilling look into the Lizzie Borden murders at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto
Alumnae Theatre‘s latest production, Blood Relations, takes on the infamous and bloody tale of Lizzie Borden, the young lady who was tried and later acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother in 1892, and projects it ten years in the future. In this imagined future, Lizzie and her friend and lover, known only as “Actress”, play a mind game where Actress takes a stroll in Lizzie’s shoes during those critical few weeks leading up to the murder in order to answer the question ‘could Lizzie have done it?’
It was this very interesting take on the famous murder case that instantly piqued my curiosity having long been fascinated by the trial. Having now seen this production, I can honestly say I was blown away.
A Steady Rain is Evocative and Colourful
Playing at Leslieville’s The Grocery, A Steady Rain by Keith Huff is a riveting tale of two troubled cops. You’ll be hanging on to their every word. They face the horrors of Chicago criminal life as well as their own chronic, personal battles. Despite their best intentions, everything at home and on the beat goes wrong, and things progressively get worse. Read the rest of this entry »
By Keira Grant
Canadian Opera Company’s New Staging of Don Giovanni Misses the Mark
The curtain on the Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart came up to stark silence at a somber family meeting. The audience had just been informed via projected text that we could expect a different performance of this tried and true classic. In the opera’s usual plot, three narrative strands about three objects of Don Giovanni’s prodigious desire converge into a perfect storm at the opera’s close. In this production, the principal characters were all members of a very wealthy, contemporary extended family. The action took place in a single set – the sitting room of the patriarch’s mansion. Read the rest of this entry »
Andrew Kushnir’s Small Axe Rocks Our World
Playwright Moss Hart is reputed to have said “If you want to send a message, call Western Union.” His stance, and that echoed later by film directors of such note as Frank Capra, is that theatre might entertain or explore but that work with a message to impart is destined to be boring. With Small Axe, a coproduction of The Theatre Centre and Project Humanity, Andrew Kushnir has proven Hart decisively, irrevocably wrong. What’s more, he does so using a collection of theatrical elements that often spell disaster, but which apparently (to no one’s surprise more than mine) can in the right hands be combined to make a deeply affecting theatrical experience.
Secrets are revealed when a couple discovers a body in Une Vie Pour Deux on stage at Toronto’s Berkeley Street Theatre
Every so often a production takes a difficult discussion and uses it to reveal the flaws in our way of thinking. Une Vie Pour Deux (Love and Other Fragments) is a joint project by Espace GO and Theatre Francais de Toronto at the Berkeley Street Theatre is a work that dives into its subject and delivers a solid night of theatre.